uhlsport is a German sporting goods manufacturer
Hellenic League Match Report

21 September

Buildbase FA Vase Second Round Qualifying

Flackwell Heath 0 Slough Town 3

Match video courtesy of Joseph Jones @GroundhoppingFC


uhlsport football kituhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division

Ardley United 3 Tuffley Rovers 3 (away view)

For the third time this season, Tuffley Rovers scored a late equaliser to secure a 3-3 draw, although on this occasion it was arguably a fitting reward for their overall display against Ardley United, in a contest that was absorbing throughout. With Luke Merchant back in goal for the first time this season, after recovering from a fractured wrist, manager Mark Pritchett made three other changes to his starting line-up, with Brett James and Warren Mann returning having missed the Floodlit Cup win over Thornbury Town, whilst Jake Rhodes replaced Jack Phillips in an unfamiliar midfield role. The hosts were forced into a late change to their starting eleven, as Troy Bryan suffered an injury in the warm-up and was replaced by Jordan Thomas.

Buoyed by an improvement in their recent form, Pritchett’s side were on the front foot from the off and only an excellent diving save from Jake Pritchard, the Ardley United goalkeeper, kept out Ross Langworthy’s effort after five minutes.
However, that was to only prove temporary respite for the hosts and sixty seconds later, after Langworthy had been fouled on the edge of the penalty area, Pritchett stepped up to smash a free-kick into the top left-hand corner of the goal to make it 1-0. Ardley United quickly regained their composure swiftly and Craig Adey’s side, playing an attractive passing game at all times, should have been back into the game after fifteen minutes, after Pritchett was adjudged to have taken down the dangerous Billy Gillett in the area.

It was Gillett who stepped up to take the resultant penalty, but his effort was tamely hit to the left of Merchant, who guessed correctly, meaning he made a vital, but relatively comfortable save to keep his side in front. Both sides were contributing to a splendid game for the neutral and each had chances to change the scoreline. Ben Prictor’s cross almost found Langworthy, before the latter then fizzed the ball across goal, just out of James’ reach and out of play. Ardley’s Gillett and Twaig Yusuf both continued to offer a threat to Rovers, with Yusuf producing a shot that was close but didn’t trouble Merchant. Arguably, Rovers carried the greater attacking threat, and when Prictor delivered another set-piece, after 21 minutes, it was met by an excellent header from Rhodes that left Pritchard with no chance as it flew into the top corner of his net.

Undeterred, Ardley United then went close through Owen Timmins, having already caused problems for their visitors from a corner-kick, before Rhodes – who was excelling in his new central midfield role – found a little space, before angling a shot just wide of Pritchard’s goal. By now, this was an end-to-end tie and Merchant had to make a superb save to keep out an effort from Yusuf, turning his fierce shot over the bar. That was to prove a bittersweet moment, as from the resultant corner Gillett shared a couple of short passes with Ryan Barney, who then found space to drive a low shot past the Rovers keeper, albeit with the aid of a small deflection of the outstretched boot of Mann, after 37 minutes.
When the half-time interval arrived it was an appropriate opportunity to reflect on 45 minutes that had been an excellent advert for the Hellenic League. Thankfully – at least for the neutral – the second period was to live up to the first.
In contrast to the first period, it was the hosts who came out on the front foot at the start of the second-half and Deon Gallagher produced an early effort on goal, albeit one that didn’t force Merchant into action. This appeared to sting the visiting team into life and they might have extended their lead on several occasions.

Langworthy then had a headed effort on goal, from a cross by Mann that was excellent but extended his hamstring and resulted in the long-serving Rover leaving the field almost immediately after, to be replaced by Harri John. Within five minutes, Langworthy might have scored again, only for Pritchard to get the slightest of fingers to a venomous shot that cannoned away off the bar, before Pritchett headed over, when well placed, from a Jack Beardsell free-kick. After 72 minutes, Rovers made a double-change, with Jeremiah Idowu and Lewis Bainbridge replacing James and Beardsell, as legs tired on a baking hot day. Six minutes later, the game came back to life, as Merchant clashed with Yusuf, almost on the edge of the penalty area, leaving the Ardley United player flat out and Merchant, who was vehement that he had cleared the ball before colliding with the hosts’ player, cautioned for his part in the action. Yusuf, who received a short period of treatment, was then able to take the set-piece and he produced a superb effort that went beyond the keeper and into the net.

Within two minutes, a Rovers attack broke down and a scintiliting, high-paced moved from the hosts, started by Barney, continued by Gallagher and ending with Yusuf hammering the ball home, at the back post, to make it 3-2 with just five minutes remaining. That was Rovers’ cue to pursue a now familiar scoreline and although Pritchard produced another super stop to keep out Rhodes’ shot, the Rovers man was not to be denied as the game moved into injury time, as he met Prictor’s beautifully flighted corner with a header of equal precision to power the ball into the net and spark scenes of joy for his team that matched any shown in the two previous 3-3 draws early in this season. So ended a thrilling encounter, high on quality and full of incident, with both teams deserving of their equal reward and both probably deserving of a little more.

Burnham 1 Brimscombe & Thrupp 1 (away view)

It was a tough day for Brimscombe when the the Gloucestershire side travelled twenty miles west of London to take on Burnham FC.

The Lilywhites looked to turn their fortunes around and started the better. After some fantastic build up play, Ollie Pitt whipped in the ball to the back post but unfortunately beat his man. Pitt again found the ball at his feet but his effort from outside the area was dragged to the left. Brimscombe still pushed and moved the football well, Jack Smith managed to find a tiny bit of room before getting his shot away but his effort whistled just past the post. The game slowed down and neither team really threatened the others goal. Coming towards half time, Smith again was unlucky not to convert when his shot hit the side netting.

Referee Kevin Bungay judged that the Burnham goalkeeper had picked up a back pass much to the protests of the home side, the ball was rolled back to James Campbell who hammered it into the bottom corner under the wall and away from the goalkeeper. Campbell starting causing problems for the host’s back line but Dimitrious Kyriazzis was equal to whatever was thrown at him.

Burnham were very close to equalising and they felt that the ball had gone over the line to level the scores but the officials turned down any appeals. They pushed and pushed as the Lilywhites tried to keep the lead, Burnham did get what they were after in the 91st minute when James Tripp was found at the back post where he slotted in.

Royal Wootton Bassett 1 Virginia Water 3 (away view)

Waters gained a much needed away win with a great squad effort at the excellent facilities of Royal Wootton Bassett.

The visitors started very well with some fluent passing, and could have gone ahead, but for a couple of good saves by the home keeper. The first goal was always going to be crucial, and into the wind, it was VW who got it. On 36 minutes Josh Dillon used his strength to win the ball in midfield, and fed the excellent Paul Burrows, who placed his shot into the far corner.

Soon after Matt Jones saved well at the feet of their left midfielder. Other than that, our defence held firm, with Adam Mills and Finn Evered particularly impressive.

With the wind in our favour, we withheld the inevitable RWB surge at the start of the second half, albeit thanks to another great Matt save, and the post, and the strong defensive display of the back four. At the other end, Martin Peters (welcome back!) played in a delightful reverse ball to Paul on 58 minutes, who slotted in our, and VW’s second.

RWB were not finished and pulled one back to cause VW a few flutters on 72 minutes, but Paul, Adam McNamara, Finn Evered, all went close, then on 84 minutes we put the game beyond doubt, when Adam waltzed past their defence out wide to hit a pinpoint ball into the path of Martin, who calmly slotted home from close range.

As I said, a top effort and performance, and delighted to come away with all the spoils.

Division One East

Chalvey Sports 3 Woodley United 2 

Chalvey secured 3 points after being 2-0 down against Woodley United.  Chalvey made 4 changes in this tight contest against Woodley United.  Garluha Sandy was ruled out with an injury which meant Tom Williams went to left back. Ben Wall came straight into the side at right back. Sean Robinson came back into the side for Joe Creighton who was suspended, And Oscar Betts And Lawrie Toombs went upfront. 

Chalvey found themselves 2-0 down within 14 minutes after a slack and slow 14 minutes. Woodley pounced on this and maybe should of been further in front before chalvey found there 1st goal of the game from skipper Rich Jeffrey after his header found the back of the net. 
5 minutes later good play from Striker Lawrie Toombs found Oscar Betts who fired a screamer into the back of net to bring chalvey level before half time. 

Chalvey started the second half fast and a minute in they found themselves ahead when Jason Marney’s controlled finish into the bottom right corner brought the score to 3-2. 

The last 15 minutes of the game Woodley United piled on the pressure and Goalkeeper Matteo Giacobbe as usual was outstanding in pulling off save after save to keep chalvey in the lead.. chalvey also cleared one of the line in all the pin ball in the box as Woodley searched for there equaliser. chalvey hung on and dug deep for 3pts against a Woodley Team who probably feel as though they should of took something away from the game. 

Chalvey Sports 3 Woodley United 2 (away view)

Woodley headed to Slough on Saturday looking for their first league win since the 12th of August. The last couple of performances have been promising, including last Monday when United went through to the next round of the Floodlit Cup after a win over AFC Aldermaston. They will face today’s opponents in the next round; with Chalvey starting the season well it was going to be a tough game. 

The match started at a frantic pace and rarely let up over an entertaining ninety minutes. The hosts had the first shot. A free kick on the left, level with the eighteen yard box, was rolled square to Tom Williams who had his effort blocked.  Four minutes in saw strong claims for a Woodley penalty turned away. A counter attack involving Toby Briggs and Ben Anderson ended with the latter cutting in and seeing the ball deflect up off a defender onto an arm for the referee to claim it was accidental!  Feeling hard done by, United pressed for the opening goal and it came moments later. A beautifully floated Danny Blatchford free kick found centre back Joe Sissons at the back post. Bringing the ball down, Sissons fired a low shot goal wards from a tight angle that hit a defender and went past Matteo Giacobbe. 

The visitors were in control of the game and looking dangerous in the final third. A Briggs effort was blocked into the path of Anderson who picked out Harry Swabey on the left of the box. Taking a touch, Swabey’s shot deflected wide.  After Blatchford saw a strike from the right whistle past the left post, the advantage was doubled on fourteen minutes. A Woodley strike from the edge of the box hit a Chalvey body falling invitingly to Freddie Barron who unselfishly rolled across to Sam Guze who tapped in from close range. The home side was getting frustrated, it was obvious the next goal would be key. A rare chance saw Lawrie Toombs head a delivery from the right over. Midway through the half, Giacobbe pulled off the first of several key stops. A superb left wing delivery from Swabey was deftly headed goal wards by Anderson who was denied by an unbelievable reflex save. 

The nearest Chalvey got to pulling one back came in a passage of play started by a Ben Wall free kick. Putting the ball into a dangerous area, Sissons did well to hook clear. Keeping the play going, Barron did well to clear off the line.  Both sides were now looking like scoring every time they had a set piece. A Blatchford free kick saw Guze ghost in unmarked; unfortunately he wasn’t able to get anything on the ball. Any contact would surely have beaten Giacobbe!  United were left to rue the missed chances as their lead was halved eight minutes before the break when captain Richard Jeffrey headed in a right wing cross seconds after a combination of Barron and post had kept the score at 2-0. 

The goal didn’t halt Woodley’s attacking intent. A Blatchford free kick was easily saved before Swabey clipped the top of the bar capping off a fantastic move that deserved a goal. Dropping a shoulder, Barron easily beat his man, passed to Anderson who found Sawbey who came agonisingly close to scoring in back to back games. Three minutes before the break United were punished when their failure to clear their lines presented Oscar Betts with a pot shot at goal. The young forward couldn’t have struck the ball any sweeter leaving Adam Thomson in the Woodley goal no chance as it flew in to the top right corner. 

United made a change before the second half got underway when Teddy Thomas replaced Briggs who had picked up a knock. Two minutes after the restart, Chalvey took the lead for the first time and once again it came down to defensive frailty. Seizing the opportunity, Jason Marney beat Thomson with a shot into the right corner from twenty yards  You have to give enormous credit to Giacobbe who starred for the hosts. The keeper did really well to keep out a Guze strike heading for the top corner after an assist from Thomas. The next stop was arguably better and once again it was Guze he denied. Getting on the end of a Barron corner, Guze’s header was palmed out by Giacobbe diving to his left. The ball was kept in play and eventually crossed back to Guze who missed the target. 

The match then had its first quiet spell; unsurprising considering the speed the opening hour was played at, the heat and the large pitch. After Anderson forced a routine save, Woodley made another change when Blatchford made way for Nathan Lock.  Immediately in the thick of the action, Lock couldn’t wrap his foot around a difficult chance that went well wide.  The next attack saw an incredible series of chances for the visitors. Guze was denied from the left by another superb save, the ball broke to Harry Hawkins whose effort crashed off the bar, the third opening fell to Lock who was denied his first for the club by a goal line clearance. When you’re down at the bottom you really do have no luck.  Chalvey were able to see out the final ten minutes reasonably comfortably; the closest United got to an equaliser was when Swabey had a shot blocked. 

Didcot Town Development 2  Thame Rangers  2 

Didcot and Thame earned a point each in blistering temperatures at Loop Meadow in a frenetic game. So frenetic that Thame opened the scoring in just a few seconds with Riccardo Benjamin firing home low past home keeper Sam Baldock. 

Didcot recovered well and after a couple of unsuccesful attacks Ty Hamilton made a run down the wing and his hard cross was hit home by Thame defender Shannon Lesson before it could reach Andi Noka. A Thame defender headed off the line from a quickly taken corner and James Barnett got in a good block from a Thame shot. Didcot got on top for a while with Bradley Walton shooting just wide and after Ty Hamilton was brought down Ross MacDonald fired over from the free kick. 

Hamilton then fired a free kick just wide and Walton had a shot tipped over the bar. The hosts were not be denied though when Ty Hamilton fired in a free kick which Ross MacDonald got a boot on to deflect it past keeper Beasley for a half time 2-1 lead for Didcot. 

Thame again came out of the traps quickly with Benjamin again getting on to a cross to poke the ball low in to the corner of the net. The second half was more fractious with less clear cut chances but plenty of corners ad free kicks which neither team could make much of. A good Andi Noka run was thwarted when he was brought down but this time it was Keiron Davies turn to fire it wide. Both teams cancelled each other out for large sections of play with the most notable features were Keiron Davies being sin binned for 10 minutes and Thame Manager Dave Ridgley being sent off. 

Didcot Town Development 2 Thame Rangers 2 (away view)

Thame Rangers earned the least they deserved at Loop Meadow on Saturday and on another day may well have returned home with all three point after hitting the woodwork three times and having a perfectly good goal disallowed late on. In blistering temperatures and on a surface that is desperate for much needed water both sides made the best of what they could in difficult playing conditions.

Thame Rangers opened the scoring with probably one of the fastest goals in Hellenic League history when Ricardo Benjamin fired home after 6 seconds. Benjamin’s pace caused problems for the home defence all afternoon and soon after he could have doubled Rangers Lead if it wasn’t for home keeper Sam Baldock who saved with his feet. Didcot responded well when Ty Hamilton made a run down the wing and his hard hit low cross was hit home by Rangers defender Shannon Lesson. Soon after Benjamin raced clear again but could only find the side netting from a tight angle. An injury to Rangers skipper Dan Hatton after 20 minutes meant a debut in senior football for 16 real old Charlie Ogle. Ogle was soon in action and from a foul on him Calvin Evans rattled the bar from 30 yards with Baldock struggling to back peddle in the sand pit of a six yard box. The home sides Hamilton was brought down in a dangerous position but Ross MacDonald wasted the chance and fired miles over from the free kick.

In the seventh minute of first half injury time, in a half of no injuries I must add, the hosts took the lead with the last kick of the half when Ty Hamilton fired in a free kick which Ross MacDonald got a boot on to deflect the ball past Rangers debutant keeper Kieran Beasley for a half time 2-1 lead for Didcot.

Rangers tweaked their formation at the start of the second half and it paid dividends straight away and we were soon back on terms as Evans crossed for Benjamin to slot home his second at the near post on 46 minutes. Soon after Evans hit the bar for a second time and a handball in the box went unnoticed by the officials when Rangers should have been given a penalty. The same combination of Evans crossing to Benjamin was halted by the post this time as Rangers had hit the woodwork three times. A good Andi Noka run soon after looking to expose Rangers defence was brought to an end some 30 yards out and from the resulting free-kick home skipper Keiron Davies fired wide. With only a few minutes remaining Rangers had a perfectly good goal disallowed as Ogle raced clear and volleyed over Baldock from 30 yards as Baldock closed down upon him. One that the officials got wrong and brought the game back for an apparent offside.

A young Rangers side which included a 16 year old, three 17 year olds and an 18 year old can all be happy with their performances that showed maturity above
their years.

Marlow United 2 Wallingford Town 0 

Marlow move into third place in the league as they continued their unbeaten run with a comfortable win over Wallingford Town  United have now gone six games undefeated in all competitions with four wins and a draw in the league seeing the club move into third place.  Yesterday with five players missing through injuries and holidays they eventually overcame a stubborn Wallingford side who were also suffering a number of omissions.  The game certainly wasn’t the prettiest for a crowd of just over seventy, played on a bone hard uneven pitch in baking conditions. 

Marlow in truth should have been out of sight before Qwam Thomas made it safe in the ninety third minute, intercepting a clearance inside the Wallingford area, skipping past two tackles and angling a drive past keeper Aulsberry for a two goal lead, the referee ending proceedings seconds later.  After a fairly even opening in which Wallingford saw a shot go wide after Mitch Woodward was robbed on six minutes United settled and began to create a number of chances. 
Liam Bushay was harrying and worrying the Wallingford defence on his return after a five game absence ably supported by Alfie Lucas in a new forward partnership. 

Marlow could have taken a lead on fifteen minutes with a Lucas cross coming of the knee of Bushay and going wide. 
Captain Chris Hurst fired over before combining with Waldron the ball skimming across the six yard box with Lucas unable to connect.  Hurst was guilty of missing a sitter with Sutherland finding the player at the far post only for the player to miss the target from point blank. 

Marlow were creating chances despite the poor quality of much of the game and they were guilty of two more misses with a free kick from Thomas being met by Al Mckie at the far post, his header finding Bushay who couldn’t react quickly enough, Sutherland then seeing his effort blocked.  A corner from Thomas followed with Jack Woodbridge guiding the ball off the post with the Wallingford defence in disarray.  The visitors were struggling to make an impression on the Marlow defence, keeper Partridge not being seriously tested. 

The deadlock was finally broken on forty minutes in some style with Ramel Sutherland collecting a pass from Bushay ghosting past his marker, his pace took him away from the opposition as he fired the ball home.  Alfie Lucas was played in on goal by Bushay right on half time his shot being smothered by the advancing Aulsberry. 

Wallingford came out for the second period more determined gaining the majority of the early possession. Still though they failed to puncture the United defence and it was the home team who should have increased their lead on the hour with first Lucas seeing a half hit shot from a Woodward pass saved then Woodbridge heading wide from the subsequent corner when it seemed he must score.  Wallingford almost made Marlow pay for those missed chances with a quick break that saw Silkstone skip past a challenge and as Partridge advanced he slipped the ball past the keeper, the ball hitting the post before being cleared. 

With just a one goal lead there was a certain amount of apprehension amongst the Marlow faithful each time Wallingford attacked. A limping Sutherland was replaced by sixteen year old Charlie Flint on sixty five minutes and soon after a cross from the Marlow left skimmed past the far post with a number of hearts in mouths. Bushay saw a rasping effort turned away with United’s last meaningful chance until Thomas put everyone out of their misery in injury time. 

Three more points and winning when not playing well are all pointers for the remainder of the season, Marlow entertaining Abingdon Town next Saturday ko 3pm as they look for that second spot. 

Marlow:Partridge, Woodward, Woodbridge, Mckie, Waldron, Davis, Sutherland, Thomas, Hurst, Bushay, Lucas  Subs  Flint for Sutherland, Eteinne for Lucas, Dickens for Bushay 

Division One West

Clanfield 4 New College 0

Two goals in each half enabled Clanfield to beat a young New College Swindon team 4-0 to make it 13 points from 6 league games, while the struggling Wiltshire club have yet to pick up a point. New College were without one of their best players in Jack Rockett whose goals played an important part in New College winning three successive games last season which was the undoubted highlight of their 2018/19 campaign, but they gave a debut to Joe Hiscock signed from Clanfield, and whose brother Alex was the New College captain.

In the early stages Clanfield came close on several occasions, but good saves from the away goalkeeper and near misses ensured the game remained goalless. New College looked a bit more solid after the initial flurry of Clanfield attacks, but the home team took the lead when Cameron Pirie headed home a corner from Nathan Robinson. It became 2-0 when Alfie Saunders scored with an excellently struck shot. Joe Hiscock had the only real shot on goal for the away team in the first half, but his effort was wide.

In the second half Clanfield made the game safe when after they hit the underside of the crossbar Jordi Mulvany followed up to score with a well struck shot which took a deflection past the away goalkeeper. Nathan Robinson made it 4-0 and again Joe Hiscock had their best chance, but his effort was just wide, with Clanfield's appeals for offside leading to Matt Knapton being sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes.

To their credit New College never gave up despite suffering their sixth successive convincing league defeat and their bench kept on encouraging their players and after going 4-0 down were determined not to concede again. Clanfield made three substitutions as they returned to winning ways following their F A Vase exit at the hands of Shrivenham and they return to cup action on Saturday when Marston Saints are the visitors in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup.

After the game a karaoke session was held in the clubhouse with players, officials and supporters all participating and Joe Hiscock joining his former team mates for the entertainment.

Newent Town 1 Shortwood United 1  (away view)

It is a measure of how far Wood have come this season that Jason Scrivens was disappointed with his side’s performance in gaining a point at Newent. Certainly the football was not up to the high standard Shortwood have set themselves this season and it was a scrappy game but to their credit they battled hard and could have won the game at the death. The disruption to the side through injury over the last couple of weeks has been immense and that list grew longer yesterday. Max Harper – Emerson went off after only 11 minutes but that appears to be a precautionary measure and his replacement Troy Budd was taken to hospital after a nasty fall with what turned out to be a fractured radial head. 

Wood had all the early pressure forcing corner after corner but it took a goal line clearance by Josh Kerr to stop Grange opening the scoring for the home side then Clark made a fine save to deny Cooper. When Newent scored after 21 minutes they were on top and deserved their lead and Grange ran through and fired across Clark into the bottom corner. Wood regained the upper hand and should have had a penalty when Soule was tripped just inside the area and minutes later Goode saved a strong shot from Soule. Newent had injury problems of their own and keeper Goode pictured up a rib injury in dealing with a corner which led to him being replaced at half time. Ex-Wood man Alex Allard picked up a yellow for a trip before Lee Bowles low cross fizzed across the 6 yard box with Soule and Black unable to supply a touch. 

Both sides spurned good chances early in the second half and the game then became a dour midfield battle. Levi Mathews had a good cross headed inches over his own bar by a defender but after 80 minutes a fine pass from Nowell set him free down the flank and his perfect cross was headed powerfully home at the far post by Tom Black. Newent’s Cooper was sin binned for dissent and Wood pressed for the winner. Mathews forced replacement keeper Ross Allard into a save at the near post before deep in injury time Josh Kerr rattled the post from 18 yards and Luke Soule’s shot from the rebound was somehow deflected wide by a desperate defence. 

Shortwood:Adam Clark, Ben Langworthy, Jacob Nowell, Tom Hoskins, Josh Kerr, Ben Snook, Lee Bowles (Matt Blythe 73) Josh Blunt, Luke Soule, Tom Black, Max Harper – Emerson (Troy Budd 11, Levi Mathews 35)

Tytherington Rocks 1 Malvern Town 4 (away view)

The Hillsiders chalked up a 4-1 away win at Tytherington Rocks on a baking hot afternoon. We managed to open the scoring within the opening minute when Matt Turner slotted home following a neat move.

Our hosts got men behind the ball and worked hard as we looked to add to our lead. There were chances at either end before we ended the opening period in the same way that we started it, with a goal. It was a break from Harry Clark which ended with him slotting home to double our advantage.

Rocks managed to reduce the arrears early in the second half but our substitutes came on and made an impact as Jamie Smith found the net on his debut before Bryan Craven got our fourth goal as a reward for his hard-working and ever-willing display in the engine room of the team. In the end it was a deserved three points and another fourth goals to add to our tally.

Malvern: Weaver, Hunt, C. Smith, J. Sauntson, A. Sauntson, Craven, Febery, Clark, Moran (J. Smith), Fusco (Hayes), Turner (Harris).

Division Two West

Chippenham Town Development 0 Faringdon Town 1(away view)

Following last weekend’s disappointing performance in the County Cup, Town were looking to make amends as they travelled to the impressive Beversbrook sports facility in Calne to face Chippenham Town Development in uhlsport Hellenic Division Two West. 

The Town squad saw a couple of changes, with skipper Josh Forth and goalkeeper Justin Yates on a stag weekend, Connor Guinness-Smith took over in-between the sticks and Adam Rudman wore the captains armband. The home side were all 17 years old and on an immaculate playing surface, Town knew what to expect and set out a game plan for the tie. 

Town started brightly and Matt Pill had the opening opportunity, but he failed to hit the target. The home side quickly got into their passing rhythm but were not causing any real issues to the Faringdon rear guard, which was allowing Chippenham to play in front of them. On 14 minutes, Joe Hoskin from right back went on a mazy run into the home penalty area, but couldn’t quite connect at the critical time and the keeper gathered. Dan Courtney midway into the opening period collected a Matt Morris through ball on his chest, taking him past his marker and on to the edge of the penalty area, but his effort on goal went high and wide. Chippenham continued to dominate the ball, but Guinness-Smith wasn’t tested at any point and with the half coming to a close, Ryan Bradbury found himself one on one with the home keeper and should have done better with his chance, the keeper easily saving his shot. 

The second period began and the home side were on the front foot and on 52 minutes some last ditch defending from Town, prevented the home side taking the lead. Moments later and Guinness-Smith had to make his first save of the match as a Town free-kick on the edge of the home penalty area was cleared and a quick break left Town three on three at the back, but Town’s keeper was up to the shot on goal, forcing it over the bar. On the hour and another Chippy effort looked goal-bound but again Town’s No. 1 was up to the task. On 65 minutes the deadlock was broken as a clearance from the Town defence was helped on by skipper Rudman in the centre circle, turning the home defence around and with Dan Hoskin hassling the fullback, he won the ball and squared it to Courtney who calmly side footed the ball home into the far corner, giving the home keeper no chance. The young home side did not give up, but Town’s shape was very good and despite loosing Dan Hoskin to the sinbin in the 75th  minute for 10 minutes, Town stood tall and gained a valuable and hardworking victory. 

Despite the home sides continued dominance of the ball, Town had the more clear cut chances over the 90 minutes and took a deserved three points and most importantly a clean sheet. Town’s management team were impressed by the change in attitude and togetherness from the whole squad and look forward to building on this for the coming weeks. 

Faringdon:C Guinness-Smith, J Hoskin, A Sly, A Rudman(c), A Goodchild, M Wood, M Pill (85 O Baker), D Hoskin, D Courtney, M Morris (62 L Davenport), R Bradbury (77 D Reidy) 

berks and bucks fa logoBerks & Bucks FA Senior Trophy